Haven’t we met before? Fifa World Cup quarter-finalists have history – here’s what it tells us ahead of Russia 2018 matches
Brazil v Belgium, Russia v Croatia, France v Uruguay and England v Sweden have been played out a total of 38 times since 1923’s first meeting
If you listened to England fans, at least until their World Cup penalty triumph over Colombia, then history repeats itself.
That was the reason why they lost at the semi-finals of Euro 96 – it was inevitability at Germany winning on penalties just as they had done at Italia 90 rather than current boss Gareth Southgate missing from 12 yards.
What does history tell us will happen between our quarter-finalists? Here’s a look back at the 38 meetings and the players who’ve survived more than one.
Brazil v Belgium
These two met in the first knockout game of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, with Brazil running out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Rivaldo and Ronaldo, the real one.
It took 67 minutes for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side to open the scoring and the second goal by Ronaldo came three minutes from time.
Brazil would go on to win the World Cup with Ronaldo being named Golden Boot.
That was the last time the sides met and the only of their four matches to be a tournament game.
Record: played four, Brazil wins 3, Belgium wins 1
England v Sweden
The Europeans have met 24 times over the years, with the rivalry dating back to 1923 and including several matches in qualifiers and at tournaments.
The teams met in June 2012 in the group stage of the Euros in Kiev. England edged that game 3-2 with a late Danny Welbeck winner. Only he and Ashley Young survive from that starting line-up while the Swedes retain Seb Larsson, Martin Olsson and captain Andreas Granqvist, although Mikael Lustig is suspended for Saturday’s rematch.
The nations went head-to-head at the World Cup in 2006, with Sven-Goran Eriksson managing England against the land of his birth to a 2-2 draw best remembered for Joe Cole’s goal.
None of the players from that match or from the 1-1 draw in the group stage of the 2002 World Cup will be involved this weekend.
The teams last met in Stockholm in 2012 in a 4-2 win for Sweden. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored all four goals that night. Welbeck scored one of England’s goals for a team that also contained Raheem Sterling, Ashley Young and Gary Cahill in the starting lineup.
Record: played 24, England wins 8, Sweden wins 7, draws 9
Uruguay v France
The teams last met in the World Cup in a 0-0 group stage draw in South Africa in 2010.
While none of the France team from that day in Cape Town are in the 2018 squad, plenty of the Uruguayans will be renewing acquaintances with Les Bleus.
Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and Diego Godin were part of the rearguard that kept a clean sheet while Luis Suarez was shut out up top.
Nicolas Lodeiro will hope to last more than 18 minutes this time – he was sent off picking up two yellows after coming on as a sub.
The teams played out another goalless draw in the 2002 group stage and Uruguay won 2-1 in the 1966 group stage.
These sides have not met since 2013 but their stars know all about each other with many of the squads playing together at club level for PSG, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
Record: played 7, France wins 1, Uruguay wins 2, draws 4
Croatia v Russia
Only met three times, the least of all the quarter-final match-ups but they did meet most recently for a friendly in 2015.
Artem Dzyuba, Denis Cheryshev and Sergei Ignashevich all played for Russia in the 3-1 loss in Rostov-on-Don while Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Madzukic and Nikola Kalinic were all on the scoresheet for Croatia and could feature on Friday night in a team that contains many of the same players as November 2015.
The two other meetings were in qualifiers for the 2008 European Championship and both were goalless.
The ageless Luka Modric, Ignashevich, penalty shootout hero Igor Akinfeev and Yuri Zhirkov all featured in at least one of those ties.
Record: played 3, Croatia wins 1, draws 2